Pandemic fatigue is considered the root cause of Covid-19 resurgence in several parts of Europe, particularly in Spain and France.
The two countries are reporting new infections every day than they did when Covid-19 reached its peak in the spring. Meanwhile, Israel imposed a nationwide lockdown for the second time, closing down hotels, restaurants, gyms, and more, due to unfolding new coronavirus cases and as the Jewish High Holiday season starts.
Epidemiologists believe the situation would worsen in autumn, but the swift resurgence starts before the official beginning of fall on Tuesday.
“There are some worrying trends that we’re starting to see,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit. “What is really worrying I think for us is that we’re not only seeing an increase in the case numbers, but we’re seeing an increase in the hospitalizations. We’re seeing increases in ICUs,” she said.
Moreover, Kerkhove noted the spikes in cases in several European countries, such as Georgia, Spain, France, Montenegro, and Ukraine. She mentioned that some American states have outbreaks as the flu season arrives and this may overcome the health system.
Meanwhile, intensive care units in hospitals in some parts of France are reaching their full capacity, according to Van Kerkhove. She added that hospitalizations are increasing twice every eight days in the United Kingdom.
“We haven’t even started to hit the flu season yet so we’re worried that these increasing numbers of hospitalization and ICU are really going to overburden an already burdened system,” she said on CNN.
“We have a very serious situation unfolding before us,” said WHO’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge.
“More than half of European countries have reported a greater-than-10% increase in cases in the past two weeks. Of those countries, seven have seen newly reported cases increase more than twofold in the same period,” he added.
France and Spain outbreaks have exceeded that of the US. Spain and France has an average of 215 and 129 daily new cases per 1 million residents, respectively.
“If you look at the European Union right now, they’re having breakouts like you’ve never seen before. And, frankly, their numbers are at a level that is much worse than the numbers here,” President Donald Trump said last week. “We have done much, much better than the European Union.”
According to Dominique Costagliola, an epidemiologist at the Inserm research institute in Paris, the origin of the new infections is from the French Riviera, the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France.
“This part of France is an area where many people go on vacation,” she said. “So there’s a lot of people participating in parties or mixing together. More in those areas, perhaps, than any other,” she added.
She expressed her concern about the increase of cases, saying that by the time hospitalizations and deaths have increased substantially, the coronavirus will be harder to contain.
“When you look at the worldwide map of cases, you see that even if you control the virus in your country, the virus is still there, so it can come back,” she said. “Don’t think that because you are in a better situation at the moment, you can forget to pay attention to the virus.”